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Commercial development of CFlex movement planner's Meta-Planning engine component in the global market

Grant number: 17/20520-0
Support type:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: November 01, 2018 - April 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Computer Science - Computing Methodologies and Techniques
Cooperation agreement: FINEP - PIPE/PAPPE Grant
Principal researcher:Carlos Eduardo Fontenelle Carneiro
Grantee:Carlos Eduardo Fontenelle Carneiro
Company:CFLEX MPC Desenvolvimento e Comercialização de Sistemas Limitada
City: Campinas
Assoc. researchers: Daniel Roberto Oshiro ; Lucas de Camargo Zechim ; Luis Elesbao de Oliveira Neto ; Plínio Roberto Souza Vilela
Associated research grant:15/50478-0 - Meta planning approach to train scheduling, AP.PIPE

Abstract

This proposal has as main objective the commercial development of the CFlex Movement Planner with the Meta-Planning Framework. This product is used by railroad operators to calculate train movement planning effectively and efficiently, and thus has a prominent position in the operation of these companies. The core of this tool is the implementation of its planning algorithm, called Circulation Planning Engine. The Engine implements an algorithm based on simulation of discrete events and heuristics to calculate the planning of the trains. This algorithm has a number of advantages over algorithms based on, for example, mathematical optimization. The main one is the ability to represent the domain entities and the restrictions considered in the calculation of circulation in a realistic way, this allows the solution to be more adherent to the needs of the customers. In addition, the Engine is also able to produce valid train movement results (without blocking) in a processing time that allows its use in the operating environment, i.e. computing a valid result in a few seconds rather than minutes or hours as in the case of other algorithms found in the literature. The innovative aspect of what is being developed in this project is to allow the product to automatically adapt to the changes in the circulation profile of a railway network, without forcing a stop the operation for an update or modification in the software. The framework called Meta-Planning Engine allows multiple instances of planning algorithms to be installed in the tool and can act at any time, depending on the circulation situation presented by the railroad at that time. As a result, we will break a paradigm that has persisted in the tool since its inception in the 1990s. We will no longer be restricted to executing only one instance / version of the Engine to compute the solution desired by the tool user. We can have several versions with different parameters all running in parallel, other implementations of algorithms and even additional tools to allow dynamic adjustments according to the circulation scenario that is presented at the moment. All this in a transparent way for the end user. The biggest challenge at this stage is the elaboration and execution of a strategy to bring the solution to the global market, with the aim of increasing the recognition of the product, communicating its potential to add value and, consequently, increase the rate of closing deals. (AU)

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